Prisoner of Azkaban Chapter 22

But the thing that was lowering Harry’s spirits most of all was the prospect of returning to the Dursleys. For maybe half an hour, a glorious half hour, he had believed he would be living with Sirius from now on . . . his parents’ best friend. ... It would have been the next best thing to having his own father back. [My emphasis]

Goblet of Fire Chapter 2

For one glorious hour, Harry had believed that he was leaving the Dursleys at last, because Sirius had offered him a home once his name had been cleared. [My emphasis]

So how long did Harry really believe this for?

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    I guess the answer lies in the "maybe" preceeding you first emphasis. When you're chased by a werewolf and then have to go back in time and save yourself suddenly mastering the spell you've been practicing on for the whole year, you don't really stop to take a look at your watch. :) – Jenayah Jul 15 '18 at 3:16
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    @Jenayah Or maybe since he went back in time the half hour happened twice, for a total of one hour. – Alex Jul 15 '18 at 3:17
  • Wow, did not think of that. This is so meta. But I guess it makes sense, in a way! – Jenayah Jul 15 '18 at 3:19
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    I really hope no one finds a quote that says two glorious hours... – C.Koca Jul 15 '18 at 3:29

We have a pretty good timeline of the night. I will attempt to map it with known times, and suspected times.

11:55 pm - Harry and Hermione go back in time exactly 3 hours.

“I am going to lock you in. It is —” he consulted his watch, “five minutes to midnight. Miss Granger, three turns should do it. Good luck.” ...

“We’ve gone back in time,” Hermione whispered, lifting the chain off Harry’s neck in the darkness. “Three hours back . . .”

8:55 pm - Harry, Ron, and Hermione head out to Hagrids house.

“Footsteps across the hall . . . yes, I think it’s us going down to Hagrid’s!” “Are you telling me,” Harry whispered, “that we’re here in this cupboard and we’re out there too?”

Here I'm adding a suspected time, based on sundown times for Scotland, I picked a northern area of Scotland to correspond with Hogwarts location give or take a few minutes.

10:00 pm - sundown Buckbeak's rescue

As Fudge’s voice started again, Harry darted out from behind his tree, vaulted the fence into the pumpkin patch, and approached Buckbeak. “It is the decision of the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures that the hippogriff Buckbeak, hereafter called the con- demned, shall be executed on the sixth of June at sundown —”

In the forest after grabbing buckbeak-

She looked nervously over her shoulder into the depths of the forest. The sun was setting now. ...

Shortly after watching Ron get dragged under the Womping Willow.

They moved around the edge of the forest, darkness falling thickly around them, until they were hidden behind a clump of trees through which they could make out the Willow.

Here we have a break while the events inside the house happen. This next bit gets a little tricky, but we have some wiggle room due to the general usesage of the phrase "sundown" but it appears the events inside the house take over an hour.

Hermione sat with her face turned toward the Willow, waiting. And then, at last, after over an hour . . . “Here we come!” Hermione whispered.

which would bring us to

11:00 pm Harry, and company exit the Willow and begin the trek back up to the school. Sirius tells Harry he can live with him, Harry becomes excited, Lupin turns into a werewolf, a chase ensues, Harry runs to help Sirius at the lake, Dementors show up, Harry passes out.

11:10 pm Harry and Hermione have finished witnessing the Dementor attack, Snape starts to take them back to the castle, and they head to save Sirius with Buckbeak.

“Right, it’s nearly time,” said Hermione tensely, looking at her watch. “We’ve got about forty-five minutes until Dumbledore locks the door to the hospital wing. We’ve got to rescue Sirius and get back into the ward before anybody realizes we’re missing. . . .”

The time gets a little muddied between Hagrid’s house, sundown, and them exiting the Womping Willow, But I think we can safely say that they entered the Willow within a few minutes either side of "official" sundown. A few minutes prior say 9:50-ish, would fit with the statement "over an hour later" they emerged, at 10:55-11:00, giving them 10-15 or so minutes of walking back to school, learning about staying with Sirius, running from the werewolf, and going unconscious. Before Hermione's final timestamp of 11:10.


Giving Harry a grand total of about 10-15 conscious minutes believing he could stay with Sirius, and about an hour between the time he learns of it, till he wakes up and realizes Sirius is captured, presumably crushing his hope.

  • 3
    Wow, I was not actually expecting an answer like this. – Alex Aug 10 '18 at 21:01

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